Phil Parkinson reveals why Declan John is still yet to feature for Sunderland

Phil Parkinson believes Declan John will be ready when called upon – as he continues to wait for his Sunderland debut.

The Welsh international, signed on deadline day from Swansea City, is yet to feature for the Black Cats since penning a half-season loan switch and was once again absent from the match day squad for the visit of Bristol Rovers.

Conor McLaughlin and new signing Tommy Smith were named on the bench against the Gas, with Parkinson explaining that a desire to ensure all areas are covered has led to John’s omission.

“I feel for Declan, and I feel it's worth giving him a special mention,” he said after the 3-0 triumph, which kept Sunderland fourth in League One.

Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson.

“The scenario on the bench is that I know with an injury, I could put Conor right wing-back and Luke [O’Nien] left wing-back, or if we're chasing a game we can put Goochy there.

“So the difficulty is that defensive cover. Obviously if Luke got injured then Conor can play right wing-back, so we choose to have one centre back and Conor at the moment.”

Parkinson, though, was full of praise for the full-back’s application behind the scenes - and has backed the 24-year-old to sieze his opportunity when it arrives.

“Declan has been training well, and more importantly he has been great in and around the boys,” added the Sunderland boss.

“Obviously you come to a new club and you want your opportunity, but if it comes he'll be ready.”